Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pretty Old Mountain

This is Hengshan. It's one of the 5 Great Mountains in China, along with Tai Shan, or Mount Tai, which you may have actually heard of. It's not located in Nanjing, but rather in the eponymous Hengyang, so these pictures are from May 2011. Sorry. But they're pretty, aren't they?

The rather tenuous relevance of Hengshan to the present is that I visited the mountain with two of my students and a fellow teacher on the May First holiday - when everything that can close, does, and as much of the country as can get tickets temporarily relocates. Well. We have one of those next week, except it's National Day and Moon Festival that got smushed together.

In 1999, China actually instituted a few extra days off - three - in order to facilitate travel and tourism. The other days are "made up" on surrounding weekends, in order to give the maximum continuous time off - 8 whole days!!! Of course it does kind of lose its sheen when you have to come in on Saturday to make up Thursday's classes, but this way, more people can travel!!

My undergrad just gave us two extra days off for Thanksgiving and didn't reimburse us for the missing class time. So.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ahh... day new, month different.

Yesterday it was old and new, today it's traditional and modern, but they're the same thing, really. It's not hard to spot in China, where donkeys and Audis share the road. Men hack at pavement with chisels as often as with jackhammers (just so you know, chisels can be pretty damn noisy too, when there's 50 of them).

This is more of Wu Weishan's work. This guy's a little less feisty, more the calm, sage type. He seems to be okay with the girl's HTC smartphone. No word on how he feels about Adidas and Kappa, though.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Maybe the tallest building in Nanjing?

What's a China blog without some gratuitous juxtaposition of the old and the new, hm?

The building on right is the Zifeng tower, which is the fifth tallest building in China (and if you don't count Hong Kong, it's fourth). We're right behind the Shanghai Pearl of the Orient (the bobbly pink one you always see in PowerPoints about China's growing GDP). 

Wait, we're right behind? Yeah, apparently I've already transferred my regional loyalty to Nanjing, possibly when I registered with the Police Bureau - sorry, Harbin, but your Dragon Tower's 23rd place finish was pretty unprepossessing, despite the students' assurances that "maybe" it was the tallest building in China.

Yeah, maybe.


You can find him on the Nanjing University campus.
This wise oldster lives on my campus, in a Rodin-like garden full of statues of men laboring, men watching, men reclining. And just look at him - he's not just any oldster. He's a little disapproving, a little amused, and is definitely going to speak his mind any moment now. He's maybe your neighbor. You probably tell stories about him.

The only woman in the statue garden has no face, no personality, and no defining characteristics other than her gigantic breasts and the baby. Woman-as-mother. Hm. I suppose the wenrou-delicate traditional heroines did not tickle the artist's fancy, and neither did the badass barbarian ladies, nor the powerful supernatural females.

Anyway, these beauties were sculpted by local - and world-renowed - artist Wu Weishan, who, according to that website, decided to apply the depiction-of-the-inner method of Chinese brush painting to sculpting. It sure seems to have worked, for the male sculptures, at least.

Here's the wikipedia article, in case you were going to look it up. It's classic Chinglish and doesn't say much of anything.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lengleng Qingqing *

* See Wenlin's Instant Lookup for translation of how my life currently looks.
Nah, I'm just kidding. My school is awesome, the classes challenging (even my one English class - we got 76 pages of reading for the next week), and I've learned about Guangzhou's college entrance exam retaking habits (they are poor) and hukou rules (you used to be able to buy a Shanghai hukou) and leaders (it was Zhao Ziyang that said "We're already old, it doesn't matter"). I love it.